2 days until 2016 Gathering of Neighbors focuses on West Seattle’s ‘growing pains’

Take a break from the keyboard and come talk about West Seattle’s “growing pains” face to face with people from around the peninsula. Whatever time you can spare to be part of this Saturday’s annual Gathering of Neighbors, that’s what it’s all about. This update includes the full lineup of topics and panel participants:

This coming Saturday, March 12th, at 9:00 am at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, VieWS (Visualizing Increased Engagement West Seattle) and the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association will present the 2016 edition of the Gathering of Neighbors. This gathering of West Seattleites will focus on the theme of “Growing Pains” and the challenges facing West Seattle as we see rapid growth in populations, jobs, and housing and the benefits and drawbacks that growth brings to our neighborhoods. What “pains” might that growth bring; what can we do to ease the “pain”?

This year’s event will feature opportunities to learn about the recommendations by the Mayor’s Housing Affordability & Living Agenda (HALA) Committee, plans to renew and double the Housing Levy, what increased density might mean for our peninsula, what a Sound Transit 3 package might look like for your vote in November, and the recent declaration of a Homeless State of Emergency by Mayor Ed Murray and County Executive Dow Constantine.

Hear from invited experts about what is happening with housing, zoning, community centers, parking, transportation, and much, much more and how all this change is both creating new opportunities for us and our loved ones while also stirring up fears of increased inequality, ongoing historical inequities, and permanent damage to the character of our neighborhoods.

As always, we will also offer breakout sessions where you can learn more about how you can get be part of shaping the impact all of these changes will have on our community and meet local leaders and organizations already involved in these issues. The heart of this event is “showing up.” When you show up to help move your community a little further along, you make a difference.

The morning’s agenda will be packed:

· 9:00 am – Social/Refreshments provided by Nucor and a proud West Seattle small business

· 9:30 am – Open House & Informational Tables: What are the Challenges Facing West Seattle?

· 10:30 am – Welcoming Ceremonies

· 10:45 am – Expert Panel: What is Being Done About Growth in West Seattle?
Moderated by Brian Callanan, Seattle Channel
*Michelle Chen, Senior Project Manager, Housing Affordability Livability Agenda
*Lorena Gonzalez, Seattle City Councilmember, At-Large
*Susan Melrose, Executive Director, West Seattle Junction Association
*Roger Valdez, Director, Smart Growth Seattle -invited
*Sharon Lee, Low Income Housing Institute -invited

· 11:40 am – Breakout Sessions: How Do I Get Involved in Shaping Our Community?
*North Delridge Action Plan update – David Goldberg (OPCD) & ACT Team members
*ST3 Planning – West Seattle Transportation Coalition + Rob Johnson, Seattle City Councilmember, District 4
*Land Use/Urban Village Growth – Cindi Barker and Deb Barker
*West Seattle Chamber conversation about business development

· 12:30 pm – Facilitated Discussion: Are We In a Homelessness State of Emergency?
Moderated by: Lisa Herbold, Seattle City Councilmember, District 1
*Michael Maddux, community advocate, and current Chair of the King County Young Democrats
*Hanna Brooks Olsen, founding editor of Seattlish; her work on the subject has appeared in the Atlantic and Salon.
*Mercedes Elizalde, Policy & Engagement Strategist for Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez, District 5

· 1:00 pm – Wrap-Up

Youngstown is at 4408 Delridge Way SW.

17 Replies to "2 days until 2016 Gathering of Neighbors focuses on West Seattle's 'growing pains'"

  • Michael Taylor-Judd March 10, 2016 (2:02 pm)

    One last minute change… Roger Valdez has been replaced on the morning panel by Ben Crowther, Policy & Legislative Affairs Director at
    The Urbanist.

  • Eric March 11, 2016 (3:38 am)

    What can the average West Seattleite do about the growing density issue when large  companies with lobbyists keep developing apartment/condos one after another after another after another? 

    • Pete March 11, 2016 (7:44 am)

      Eric, one person might not have much impact. But when a community bands together amazing things can happen. But it requires neighbors getting involved with neighbors to make positive changes happen. Come out to GON 2016 tomorrow and see how you can get involved with your neighbors to make these positive changes. 

  • John March 11, 2016 (9:03 am)


    What “large  companies with lobbyists” are   developing  “one after another after another after another”?  

    It should be noted that many of the  developments, past ,present and future, are of  West Seattle  origin, with properties owned by generations of West Seattleites.

    The average West Seattleite should be aware that zoning that was created and intended to increase density and dependence on mass transit has been in effect for decades.    

    These zoning laws help prevent urban sprawl and protect the beautiful green this city is surrounded with.  

    The increased density lessens environmental impact and global warming.

    The increased density has vitalized this sleepy old restaurant-free peninsula.   

    I hope the average West Seattleite comes to embrace and enjoy Seattle’s necessity for urbanism and density for the protection of our future and our environment.

    • JVP March 11, 2016 (1:08 pm)

      Thank you John, I couldn’t have said it better.  I love the Junction more than ever, and all the people are a main reason why.

      I will be staying away from this event, the way it is promoted it sounds NIMBY-centric.  

      West Seattle Transportation Coalition has my support, they’re focused on positive changes instead of complaining about growth and newcomers.

    • KM March 11, 2016 (1:34 pm)

      Well said, John. My family is really loving the changes here, and I’m happy to see changes favoring urbanism, and hope to see this trend continue. 

    • wayne gillebo March 12, 2016 (1:38 pm)

      john, as a 1961 west seattle high grad. I can tell you this is not a sleepy revitalized community as you call it. every time I come back here all I see is high rise condo development and that is reality today so don’t flower it up

      • John March 13, 2016 (9:25 am)

        Thank you for some historical perspective, wayne.

        I am a decade behind you but in the sixties, seventies and eighties I remember West Seattle as a relatively sleepy neighborhood that supported few restaurants.  

        California Ave  and the Junction had been  in decline for decades.  Anchor businesses like Penney’s, the dimestore, the grocery store and the sporting goods store disappeared.  Westwood Village was in decline and in need of a make-over.

        If all you see “is high rise condo development”  (technically we have mid-rise apartment development), try straying from our urban core – California Ave and the old industrial car dealership triangle. And yes, keep your eyes toward the Sound when cruising the Gold Coast section of Alki, but other than those exceptions we still look much the same.

        Check out ; Hamilton Viewpoint, Lincoln Park,  Fauntleroy ,  Beach Drive, Marine View Drive, Arbor Heights,  North Admiral, Genesee,  Gatewood, Delridge, Highland, Park Sea View, Alki Flats and other areas for a high or mid- rise free West Seattle.  

        Nearly all of West Seattle outside of urban villages looks similar to its past with single family  houses on 5,000 square foot or larger lots.   The plantings and trees are now mature.  When the urban villages are fully built out,  the overwhelming majority of our beloved West Seattle will still look in  the same as always.

        And it will still be a great place to live.

  • Artsea March 11, 2016 (11:01 am)

    I want to make it clear that I consider myself an Independent when it comes to politics, but for the past few years have found a lot to criticize about the Republicans. That said, I very much disagree with what “John” said about how this current ongoing urbanization of West Seattle is a good thing for our region and how ….” The increased density lessens environmental impact and global warming”.    While those of us who have long loved the “suburban” atmosphere of West Seattle  don’t see how our accepting a vastly changed West Seattle will achieve what you say it will when the Republicans in Washington D.C. are constantly working to do away with much of what the EPA keeps trying to do to protect the environment throughout America.  In fact, several of the Republican presidential candidates spoke out in favor of totally doing away with the EPA.   So….I don’t feel I have much to gain by embracing the changes that are overpowering West Seattle.   I guess I’ll just grumble about it.

    • John March 11, 2016 (5:49 pm)


      I agree that change is challenging and grumbling expected.

      Density does lower our environmental impact in many ways including mass transit, efficient massing of buildings, urban villages and less reliance on the one driver 1.5 cars that we now face.  All of these require change, challenge and grumbling before emerging as a better city.

  • Recovering Urbanist March 11, 2016 (11:27 am)

    At some point many of us urbanist/pro density folks
    grow up, have children, want a yard with a little spot of sunshine, don’t want
    to share a wall with inconsiderate neighbors, can’t ride a bike everywhere, and
    realize that we need a car to get to the mountains or take kids to school, and
    then we look at density through a different lens. It happened to me and now I
    question how it is that some current urbanists (density at all costs promoters)
    get to shout down anyone who wants a single family home, a small yard with
    sunshine, and has a car. Yeah, the urbanists and developers co-opted the
    affordability debate and are forcing HALA on Seattle, but not all of us want to
    live in a New York/Boston style city. If we did, we’d live there. But God
    forbid we question density decisions in Seattle lest we be called NIMBY. Green
    space preservation, umm… look at the current sell-off of green spaces to
    developers and the HALA proposed high density housing to take away land from of
    Camp Long along 35th. I hope many show up to chat at this meeting.
    It’s one thing to direct development to certain corridors and into areas with
    accessible transit, but it’s something entirely different to pursue policies explicitly
    intended to slowly shove existing residents out single family homes (via
    additional upzoning of the Junction which is already at 300% of intended

    • newnative March 11, 2016 (2:24 pm)

      This urbanist has grown up and seen the benefits of raising children in a dense, diverse neighborhood.  Beautiful parks, green spaces and resources like mass transit provide a lot of choices not present in homogeneous suburbs.  

    • John March 12, 2016 (9:20 am)

      How does one become a Recovering Urbanist, without betraying the very principle of urbanism, the value placed on reducing our earthly footprint?

      That is like saying I used to believe in environmental protection, but now that I am older and have kids, I don’t.

      If anything, starting a family usually leads us to being more community minded.  Our high schooler is taught about our globe and the stress we place on it.   It will be interesting to see as Recovering Urbanist’s family matures, if they maintain the the car for every driver,  big grass yard yard,  heavy environmental toll lifestyle.

      Recovering Urbanist describes a city that no urbanist espouses.

      Who are these “density at all costs” promoters?

      It is not black and white.  

      Not everyone needs a car to go to the mountains.  Not everyone needs a car for work.  Not everyone needs a car for every member of their family.  Car sharing services are growing.  A few of us reducing our consumption makes a difference.

      The confused attacks on HALA (co-opted affordability?), comparisons to NY/Boston and claims of selling off green space and Camp Long…where does that  come from?

      It is absurd to suggest that the city or anyone has chosen “to pursue policies explicitly

      intended to slowly shove existing residents out single family homes” by citing an up-zoning in an urban village.

    • wayne gillebo March 12, 2016 (2:01 pm)

      did I read correctly that some people are for taking part of Camp Long green space away and putting up high density housing there? cant be true, or is it?  If so, Id like to see some of the same thing go up to block the view of  waterview admiral hill homes and them see the reaction from the rich of west seattle.  bet that would raise their hackles.  I was raised across the street from camp long in 40s and 50s and so that raises hackles on my back. don’t invade camp long. it is unique for young groups.

      • WSB March 12, 2016 (3:45 pm)

        Wayne, no, that is not true nor even proposed. – TR

  • Junction guy March 11, 2016 (11:54 am)

    Artsea I’m with you on national politics. However I do think that unless we institute a moratorium on humans reproducing (which might be necessary at some point!) we’re going to have to manage growth somehow. Unfortunately the secret is out that West Seattle rocks! So now what do we do? I’m hoping that we can be as proactive as possible vs. reactive. We’re already playing catch up with transportation etc. 

  • NW March 12, 2016 (9:31 am)

    The change occurring in West Seattle with growth ,especially in 98116 zip, could really benefit this area by bringing on more diversity. 

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